Skip to Content


30 Years of economics for development

WIDERAngle January 2015

From the Editor’s Desk

Tony Addison

In 2015 UNU-WIDER is celebrating its 30th aniversary. In this picture from the archives we see Professor Amartya Sen and Dr Jean Drèze presenting their book on Hunger and Public Action at the UNU-WIDER symposium on the same topic, held in July 1990. WIDER Angle January 2015.
In 2015 UNU-WIDER is celebrating its 30th aniversary. In this picture from the archives we see Professor Amartya Sen and Dr Jean Drèze presenting their book on Hunger and Public Action at the UNU-WIDER symposium on the same topic, held in July 1990.
​We are now into 2015, and the year is already gathering speed. 2015 is of course the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and a major year in global development with the conclusion of the MDG process, and the start of a new chapter with the SDGs. For UNU-WIDER it is the year of our 30th anniversary. Amid all the celebration though, we have the continuing Ebola crisis in West Africa, the upcoming Paris climate conference (2014 being the world’s hottest year on record), and conflict taking new and deadly forms in Iraq, Nigeria, and Syria.​ Full article


Finn Tarp & Tony Addison

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of UNU-WIDER. The Institute opened its doors in 1985. It has been quite a ride ever since. We have had thousands of economists and other social scientists through those Helsinki doors since 1985. Not only some of the most famous figures in the business, but many younger early-career economists–who have often gone on to have a big impact on research and policy. Our engagement with the developing world has been a constant, and it has been a real pleasure to dialogue with such a variety of research and practice from across the globe. We have all learnt so much: and together. Full article

Out of the poverty trap through higher aspirations?

Jukka Pirttilä

Why does a mother from a poor African village not send her daughter to school, but instead marries her off to an old man as a second or third wife? This way poverty is inherited from parent to child. Or why does a boy from a remote village in a developed country, such as Finland, drop out from school and stay unmarried for the rest of his life in the declining countryside? How could an economist contribute to answering these questions? ​Full article


Food security in Bangladesh

Global food price hikes during 2007 and 2008 resulted in a sharp rise in staple food prices in Bangladesh, which in turn led to a significant rise in the number of households falling below the poverty line. On the political front, Bangladesh was run by an unelected and undemocratic 'civil' caretaker government, backed by the military, which remained in power until the end of 2008 and undertook several steps to contain price hikes. Some of these policies and programmes were effective, and some were not. ​Full article

How can aid promote the economic empowerment of women?

Over the last 30 years the International Labour Organization (ILO) has actively pursued women’s economic empowerment projects, seeking to raise global awareness of women’s positive contributions to society and improve their welfare. A review of the ILO’s interventions shows that targeting women directly and specifically, engaging and co-ordinating actively with local institutions to raise awareness, strategies for job creation, and programmes that increase social security are all crucial to improve gender equality.​ Full article


How to achieve structural transformation in developing economies? — an interview
​with C. Peter Timmer

Roger Williamson

In this interview C. Peter Timmer, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, reflects on the conditions of the possibility of structural transformation in developing countries, particularly in Africa. He argues that structural transformation can only be successful if a concurrent agricultural and dietary transformation takes place and discusses what the challenges are in different developing country context.

Timmer gave the WIDER Annual Lecture 18 in October 2014 at the UN in New York. Watch interview here


Is rising income inequality inevitable?

Anthony Atkinson in a 1999 issue of WIDERAngle

The Transatlantic Consensus sees rising inequality as the product of exogenous, inevitable events with an emphasis on technology and trade - including trade with the developing world. There is nothing to be done about rising market inequality. In this article I have described an alternative story which sees the rise in inequality in market incomes as the product of changing social norms resulting in a shift away from a redistributive pay norm to one where market forces dominate. The fact that the driving force is social in origin - rather than trade or technology - means that there is more scope for political leadership. Full Article

WIDERAngle newsletter
January 2015
ISSN 1238-9544

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO License


Back to Top

^ Back to top

1995-2014 United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research

© CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGODisclaimer | Terms of Use
UNU-WIDER, Katajanokanlaituri 6 B, FI-00160 Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358(0)9 6159911 | Fax: +358(0)9 61599333